First he stood so well clipping, sometime last week. The clipper is huge and very noisy and used to worry him a bit, though he was never very difficult about it. This time he stood so calmly and I could even do the underside of his head.

Then today the farrier came and it was a replacement, our regular farrier had back surgery recently (though he had come along). And Rowan stood like a house, he makes a friend of every farrier and this new one was no exception. 'Wish they were all like this'. Yeah, I think I can take a little credit for that.

Then I went for a forest ride! It had been since last summer (I think) and I was a little nervous, but Hoss So Sweet because he was calm and steady even though he thought my calm ride was a little boring, and we did a bit more cantering than I'd intended - it's so hard to resist his enthusiasm. It was lovely. Now I have to hope my back isn't going to make me regret it too much.

A good day

Feb. 7th, 2011 08:52 pm
This morning I was at the stable at 10 because the equine dentist was coming. Rowan didn't need any work, which was nice. It was very sunny (hurt-my-eyes sunny in fact) and though it was cold and windy too I enjoyed being outside for a while to lunge-work the powney. I rode bareback for about 10 minutes too - only to walk him out, but he was solid and I felt safe on his back (which isn't a given these days, pain makes me a little apprehensive) and it was nice.
Then I went by the garden centre because the sun is making the MUST GROW THINGS part of my brain wake up. Must grow things! Sadly there is planned work on the gallery and thus the ledge must stay cleared of things.. the work was projected to be finished by early april but there's been a lot of delay with the bad weather, so there's actually a reasonable chance I won't be able to put anything outside until well into May. Boooo! Mum keeps saying I should grow things at her place, but that means I'd miss out on all the actually watching things grow, and by the time the plants could be here on the ledge a lot of it would be far too large and heavy to move.
Another session with the trailer shy mare. Since she will be sedated for the actual move on tuesday, I decided I wasn't happy with putting her into a 1.5 horse trailer (which is fairly wide; in her case wide enough to turn around in). Horses 'surf' in wide trailers - they put their feet wide and use their balance to absorb the movement. Rowan is very good at it, you never hear him move unless there's a corner, and then it's just two steps. A horse that is comfortable with this tends to feel pretty good in 1.5 trailers; space to move around, loading and unloading is easy.
The mare has no experience with balancing, is scared in the trailer (has a history of rearing and falling) and will be drugged out of her head, so I think the risk of her staggering all over the place and falling is fairly high. Luckily we were able to borrow a 2-horse trailer, which has much narrower spaces for the horses, and she'll be able to lean against both sides. Since she's social, and could use the comfort during the trip, Rowan will be coming along in the other space as mentor. Rowan is super chilled in there, as long as he has hay he's happy.

We brought that setup to the stable to see what she thought. My goal was just to get her front feet on the ramp. She froze when the trailer came into view, but I managed to get her out of it, and she pretty much picked up where we left off last time. She really liked Rowan, which helped as she wanted to go and meet him. Sadly she'd been eating lots of hay (freefed in the field) so she wasn't terribly motivated by cookies, but nonetheless I got her with all four feet onto the ramp about five times. She was half inside twice, but didn't quite make the step all the way in, and I didn't force the issue - I believe she is making such progress because it's all her choice. If I make it into a trap by not letting her leave when she wants to, she won't want to try it again! Hopefully on tuesday I can ease her into the trailer, feed her treats there, and when she forgets about backing out we can put the bar in and tie her. I don't really know how the sedation will affect her though.

All in all I'm rather pleased with the way that's gone and with my own approach; I stuck to what I set out, kept it positive, and resisted pushing for more when she surpassed my expectations. And I'm also once again filled with the warmfuzzies for Rowan. He was very sweet and very patient - he's truly matured into such an awesome horse. He'll be turning 12 next week!

I have no clue why the video looks square. Can't change it anymore. Hmm.
I finally stuck together a video about it...
On sunday I will be going to a Working Equitation competition with Rowan. During the dressage test you are allowed to have music to accompany you. It will be purely background music (not choreographed like in musical kurs) but I do want it to be suitable music.

This is where you come in! I could use some ideas.

 I need something about 6:30 mins long (or longer). That has some rhythm to it, but not too heavy. and that is interesting, but not  overpowering.  I have some nice film score music, but a lot of that is very building toward a crecendo, which doesn't fit the dressage test. A big moment in the music looks silly if I'm just walking around the ring at that moment.

Something Welsh celtic would be cool, as apparently the jury like themes (& hoss is a Welsh Cob) but I'm by no means wedded to that idea.

Unfortunately it turns out to be a lot easier to find music that clashes with the riding than music that complements it!

I'm currently thinking about parts of the Band of Brothers soundtrack, Brian Eno, and Enya as fallback (a lot of Enya has the right sort of deep rhythm without overpowering. Unfortunately I've not seen a track of hers that's long enough, and stitching together could get ugly)

If anyone has ideas I would be very happy to hear them. If possible with youtube links for easy quick listening.
My dad called me up if I fancied a ride. I had been having a very down day up till then and the opportunity to go cuddle Rowan was very welcome. It was nice that dad was there with me, there's some stuff that's just hard to do on your own, especially if you have trouble mounting
lalablahblah wibble about horseriding )

Riding :-)

Sep. 24th, 2009 12:41 am
Played some more with Rowan today. I did part of the Working Equitation dressage tests. Struggling with the small 8 shapes as he is tilting his head sideways - I need to see if I can free up some money for lessons*, that needs fixing. Did do nicely on the small-slow large-fast canter circles. Got two nice simple lead changes before he got bored and started powering through my hands in the slalom. Git. I might need to switch back to the shank bit (using a snaffle now) to nip that initiative in the butt. Canter control. We needs it. 
His reverse needs work, he zig-zags all over the place.
We also did some more practise for the ring-jousting part of the speed trial - picking the pole out of the barrel works in trot and canter now, and I can canter around with it as long as the pole is on the inside, as the moment. When it's on the outside he's still a bit wary of it. Having a longer pole in the competition would probably fix that as there wouldn't be an ending he can see. Then I manage to drop it back into the barrel from a canter, with no shying or fuss, which was cool. If I do manage to go to a competition, I think we've got that down. Of course, no way to practise actually getting the ring target, so I may still end up sucking, but at least I won't be able to blame it on Ro :-)

If you're curious about what I'm wittering on about, here is a video of the most exciting part (speed trial - there's also this same track but done for style points) as done on the very highest level

*] this may involve the all-noodlesoup-all-the-time diet

I need to get the sailing photos sorted as well, but there were fewer photos of the cow clinic so that was easily done. click for photos )

Yay! Cows!

Aug. 29th, 2009 09:32 pm
I went to a basic cow-work clinic today with Rowan. He tends to think cows are pretty scary, so I had no idea how it would turn out. My hopeful guess was that he would take his usual approach of shying back for ScaryThing and then immediately approach it again to research its scariness. And I was right, I took a few minutes to let him meet the cows through the fence of the pen, and he thought they were a bit scary but mostly very intriguing.
Once we actually started working under saddle, it took him a few moments to figure out that cows aren't solid objects, they'll move aside if you push. So a 'wall of cow' can be shouldered into without pain. Once that clicked, the lightbulb came on and he took to it really well, following the cow we picked, pressured it in the right ways without much direction from me, and generally displayed uncommon amounts of cow-sense for a horse not bred to work with cows. I suspect that working with the big blue ball has given him a bit of an insight into pushing something to get it to move. (will try to get some photos&vid of that, it's fun to watch) We had a blast.

(I look a bit awkward because I was trying to keep him off the cow a bit, he was getting overly enthusiastic!)


Aug. 28th, 2009 08:27 pm
Insufferably cute horse - got so excited about getting to play with the ball (1m diametre blue inflated ball) that he was bouncing and crow-hopping. The people at the side of the arena were laughing there heads off. He is happiest just walking after the ball, pushing it wherever it goes. When he gets it stuck in a corner, he'll actually shove it back out with his nose (too cute).
My dad kicked the ball a few times and we went after it to stop it short. Last time worked really nicely, hard stop and cut across from a canter - a move he might need with the cows tomorrow, depending on how far we get. At least I know it's in there :-)


Jul. 15th, 2009 09:12 pm

My Roheryn.
He's so, so awesome. As long as I don't bore him, he's endearingly willing to figure out what I want from him and then give it to me.
Real lightbulb-coming-on-between-his-ears moment earlier today. I asked for a hard stop from canter, which last week he was still struggling with. This session, first time I asked, the lightbulb came on, he said "Ohhh, THAT's what you want", sat down and threw out the anchors.

It's always interesting how sometimes downtime will help him learn stuff. Like he's been percolating this stuff all week and he's worked it out.

We also did the first traces of a barrell pattern, but I think I need to go away and figure out where my balance should be and how not to hinder him before I take that any further.  Next week maybe.
[ profile] wingnut told me who is going to be permanent crew on the sailing voyage in august and I am very happy with the news - a great team completely devoid of the shouty people I worried about having aboard. I think now I'm ready to start looking forward to it :-)
(oh by the way Jos, this is the song I mentioned for waking watches with...)

On a completely unrelated note, I am seriously thinking about doing a working cowhorse clinic with Rowan. Reasons go... 1) it looks like fun, 2) there's cow-work in working equitation so if I ever want to compete it'd be nice to have done it before, 3) Rowan is going to provide so much entertainment with his "OMG! Cows! OMG! Do you SEE them? OMG! Cows!" behaviour that it would be criminal not to go do it at some point.

My dad is doing a mendurance ride next weekend (endurance for carriages) and I've kind of been consulting on training and the competition and so on. Which has brought me back in contact with the endurance world and feeling all wistful for it.
So today I got to go see Rowan and ride for a bit. I brought my own saddle along, which helped being more comfortable, and Rowan had already been for a ride this morning so he wasn't fizzy. I rode for about 20-25 minutes, mostly walking with a small bit of canter in there. Trotting is most painful so I tried to avoid that.
Now, of course, I ache like hell and I suspect tomorrow is not going to be fun. It was still lovely to reconnect with my powney though.
When Simon was here around New Year he made photos of Moz and of Rowan. I've finally gotten around to sorting them out and resizing them into viewable sizes.

Photo index

Rowan gallery

Mozzie gallery



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